Header image courtesy of Align Swim (via Facebook)
Eco-friendly swimwear may sound like a niche product, but small independent brands are quickly working to plug the gap in the sustainable market. Although few reports seem to agree on one clear statistic and numbers have a tendency to fluctuate, we can safely estimate that approximately 10 to 20 million tons of plastic find their way into our oceans on an annual basis, choking up our ecosystem and causing irreparable harm.
With this in mind, several companies have taken it upon themselves to tackle the waste epidemic in the stylish way possible: transforming plastic into chic, sustainable swimmies. Let’s dive into some of the best eco-friendly swimwear brands in Hong Kong and across Asia that are actively disrupting the swimwear industry.
Hong Kong-based yoga instructor Audrey Sze was inspired to create a sustainable alternative to mainstream swimwear options when she learned about Econyl and its incredible properties. Drawn to the fabric’s buttery-soft quality, its technical ability to retain shape, and body-sculpting features, Oliv the Label was born in collaboration with an ethical and socially responsible Balinese factory, working hard to provide a sustainable, eco-friendly swimwear solution to alleviate our ever-growing waste problem. Gathering inspiration from classic styles and simplistic silhouettes, their debut product Anna (US$160) bears an elegant deep scoop design with narrow straps and a ballerina-inspired cross back detail, available in three gorgeous colours.
Whether you are in search of more active styles, something revealing and leisurely, or even sporty leggings, Singapore-based August Society stocks them all. Ethically produced in Bali using premium recycled fabrics and durable Lycra, August Society repurposes waste polyester and nylon, preventing them from reaching the ocean and landfills. Our favourite item from their collection has to be their reversible one-piece Valencia (S$169), which features a solid colour on one side, and a bold pattern on the other—two suits for the comfortable price of one! What a steal. Plus, their products come delivered in plant plastic pouches that biodegrade over time.
In a move that puts them a smidge ahead of other eco-friendly swimwear brands in the region, August Society has also recently launched multiple collections for men and kids. Featuring colourful swimming trunks, rash guards for active little ones to splash around in, and patterned suits (some printed in Hello Kitty motifs!), the new items can be coordinated for the whole family to strut out to the beach or pool in matching style!
Born and raised in Bali to multi-national parents, Rimmba founder Karunia Fischer has been immersed in Balinese culture since birth. After leaving the idyllic island for opportunities abroad, she eventually returned to Southeast Asia, taking inspiration from local Balinese craftspeople to create her own line of sustainable clothing. While Rimmba does not focus exclusively on swimming accessories, you can bet that their extensive experience across women’s apparel gives them an edge in their cuts and designs for eco-friendly swimwear. We are particularly drawn to the bold silhouette and uniquely modern textural detail of the Yanti (US$75) bikini top, made from recycled fishing nets and post-consumer carpet waste, and available in three pleasing colours.
Swearing by socially responsible practices to create a positive impact on the fashion industry, Ubu takes the lead as a conscious Singaporean beachwear brand. For their swimwear, Ubu utilises a luxury fabric called Carvico Vita that is made from Econyl. With an in-house team completely dedicated to creating functional and fashionable designs, Ubu presents flexible one-pieces or mix-and-match bikinis for limitless customisation possibilities. The reversible, patterned Hemera (S$130) one-piece is right up our alley. Ubu also gives back to charities, championing the good work done by Big Against Breast Cancer and 4Ocean.
Open up your wardrobes (and wallets) for handcrafted, form-flattering swimwear pieces! Singapore’s Align Swim may not boast an extensive collection, but they’re big on colour, offering a handful of dreamy, pastel tones for their feminine and timeless suits. Manufactured in Bali using Italian wonder-tech Econyl, their bikinis and one-pieces are luxuriously soft on the skin. Store your beautiful new suit in Align Swim’s specially-made swimwear pouch made from eco-friendly linen and bring them along on your next pool or beach trip! We just love the vibrant and playful Sofia (S$129) one-piece in a colourway of blue-green, pale lavender, pink, and coral.